Aug 2-3, year of the plague.

Major things I did & philosophy of life.

My philosophy of life was shaped by my first real job, actuarial trainee at age 21. Half of what an actuary does in the early years is study for the exams. There are 10 or more & if you're really smart you'll pass one a year and probably, after 12 years almost be the president of a small insurance company. Lots of money but after several months I saw that the actuarial career wasn't for me. Actuaries, when they aren't studying for the next exam prepare annual actuarial reports for companies. My job at Jonhson & Higgins was to write annual reports for retirement benefits for self-insured companies. The reports were used to justify the company retirement contributions. A tax deduction. One of my biggest was clients was United Fruit. This was in the 60's & computers didn't do much. I would have a line of data for each employee & aggregate it (using IBM 360 & flow charts) & using life tables be able to compute & justify the deduction. Working with life tables at age 21 was a dose of reality and I worked all day for a year with the Johnson & Higgins Modified Life Tables. I was well aware of mortality.

(an aside and part of my understanding of Wall Street)

The way I would modify the tables gave me an incite into the way Wall Street works and was part of the reason I quit and went into teaching. They were modified, as Tukey would say, by a “feeling”. By feeling that medicine or some unknown cohort would move the life tables in one direction by lengthening lifespan or in the opposite direction. The client could suggest the result they wanted. “We want to deduct lots this year” or we want you to reduce our contribution to the retirement fund. And they could certainly have self-serving reasons to under fund or over fund the reserve put aside to pay for the promised benefits into the future. I learned most well-paid Wall Street work was as a hand-maiden to corporations.

Combining these two lessons certainly contributed to my “how to live” algorithm. 1) Life is finite 2) To have a job that's important. One I would do even if I was rich (talk about privilege).

I will write paragraphs in the future of “things I did”. Having projects, having a legacy. Will fill these afternoons of sitting on the couch while Jody works during the year of the plague. And will add to